Tuesday, June 29

Under the Sea Free Downloadables

Here are some free printables from my daughter's Under the Sea Birthday Party.  Enjoy!

Note:  These printed darker blue on my printer than they appear on-line.  The printed color more closely matches the photos.

Straw Labels:
Just print these labels on adhesive paper.  Cut out each label, peel off the backing, wrap it around the straw, and cut the end using any scissors you like.  I used ones with a "ripped" design.

One page contains eight "Three" flags and eight "Under the Sea" flags

Under the Sea Straw Flags

Napkin Wrappers:

Just print these labels on regular paper. Wrap your utensils in the napkins.  Cut out each wrapper (I actually cut each in half as well), wrap around the napkin bundle, and adhere with double-sided tape.  Punch out a crab shape from white paper and glue on top.

One page contains 10 wrappers (5 cut into two pieces each)
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Friday, June 25

The Invitations

The invitations... these were simple DIY invites printed at home.  (Sadly, they are cuter without the bars blocking personal information, but such is life.)  Given the vibrancy of the background, I kept the invite rather simple with just a few coral accents and some bubbles.  The text was kept white except for the birthday girl's name and the number 3, both of which were accented in orange.  (Download Available Below)

I made envelope inserts again similar to the ones from the Owls and Books Baby Shower.  However, this time I designed the background myself (the same "Under the Sea and Turning 3" message) and printed it on adhesive paper.  This definitely adhered better than gluing regular paper.  However, it was also a little tricky to get into the envelope smoothly.  It was less forgiving and didn't allow for re-positioning.  (Download Available Below)

On the outside, I printed return address labels on adhesive paper.  They were cut out using my 1 1/2" circle punch.  It's hard to tell when I blocked the personal info, but the name was orange and the address was in white on the same blue background as the invitation.  I wrapped it ever-so-slightly around the edge of the invitation, but you could also just cut off any excess if you want the back clean.

If you want to create this yourself, keep reading.
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Wednesday, June 23

Parting Favors...

Here's a closer look at the favor buckets.  I had three (almost four) variations for the kids... little girls (ages 3-6), little boys (all 3), and babies.

The girls' and boys' pails included orange kool-aid play dough, finger puppets and bubbles. 

The play dough was based off of Roots & Wings Co recipe.  This was a fun recipe that my daughter was able to help with.  She loved kneading the dough.  Then I rolled it out, cut it with a fish cookie cutter, and packaged it up.

The finger puppets included a shark and a fish, made from basic felt.  The fish is based on the same fish paper punch that was used elsewhere.

The boys received a second large set of bubbles while the girls received two barrette sets... one orange curly barrette and then a fish set (I shared the tutorial previously).

For the babies, I dyed burp clothes blue and stenciled crabs on them.  I also made little pacifier clips out of an anchor-design ribbon.  Then the baby girls received smaller variations of the same barrettes as the girls.

The burp clothes were really simple.  I punched crabs out of freezer paper using the same Martha Stewart paper punch as I had on some of the other crafts.  Then I ironed the stencil to the burp cloth, shiny side down.  The crab was painted with a matte fabric paint.  Once it dried, I removed the stencil and ironed the design to set the paint.

This was the first time I ever made kids favors, and I have to say that it was a lot of fun.

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Monday, June 21

Under the Sea and Turning Three

It was a beautiful day... warm, sunny, perfect for our outdoor water party.  I can't believe that my little girl is three.  But what better way to celebrate than playing with friends while the adults relax and look-on.  Here are a few shots from the day.

Given that the kids were running back and forth between the playset, the kiddie pool, and the sprinkler activities, there was easy to grab food for the kids... small sandwiches, cones with goldfish, carrots with hummus, and fresh fruit.  And to appeal to adult palettes... grilled shrimp kabobs, grilled chicken kabobs, and a mediterranean orzo pasta.  Drinks included homemade lemonade, freshly-brewed sweet tea, and blue buckets filled with ice and capri sun pouches.  Keeping the kids hydrated was a priority.

The backdrop for the buffet table was a collection of water photos of my baby girl.  I can't believe how much she has grown since her first beach trip.

And for anyone who wanted a lower key activity... coloring. Only note, watch out for leaving crayons in direct sun. We have some wax to get off that table now.

We kept the sweets inside the house and used them as an excuse to get out of the sun for a little while.  The dessert table included lemon cupcakes with sparkly blue frosting, lemon-creme-filled cookies, "clam" cookies, rice krispy balls, and blue and white candies.

Favor buckets were lined up along the edges of the table.  The favors were customized for the girls, the boys, and the babies.

It was a great day.  Happy Birthday, my princess.

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Saturday, June 19

Party Inspiration: Lavender and Lemon

I'm entering full party-mode in preparation for my daughter's birthday this weekend.  Hopefully I will get some pictures to share.  Until then, I want to leave you with an inspiration.

Back in April I asked what projects you all might like to see.  Well, one dear reader wrote that she is preparing for her mother's 60th birthday in August.  Her mother loves gardening, cross stitch, and, of course, her grandchildren.  The family has fantastic plans for her.  However, here's a little more inspiration...

Invitations or Cards
How cute is this card from Upon a Fold.  Imagine a special stitched message.  Just attach a label on the other side with party decorations, and you have an amazing invitation.

Source: Upon a Fold

Or for a more graphical look, check-out this one that Julia (Picture Party) found.  I love the yellow.
Source:  Picture Party

Lemon and Lavender
When I came across Kate from Centsational Girl's lavender lemon cake, I thought what a delicious theme for a party... soft yellows and vibrant purples.  Lemon and Lavender flavors, maybe with some rosemary as well.

Isn't her cake lovely.

Ilenia from Simply Nabiki threw an amazing lavender-themed party for her mother's birthday, that is full of amazing ideas.  My favorite details are (1) the chocolate cake balls rolled in lilac non pareils (my own mother loves when I make cake balls) and...

Source:  Simply Nabiki

... (2) the sandwich toppers with photos of her mother when she was younger. What a cute idea.

Source: Simply Nabiki

I hope these ideas help to inspire you.  Now time to return to party prep here.

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Tuesday, June 15

Eat More Cake

Sometimes birthdays get lost as an adult.  I hate to say it, but sometimes it happens.  For my poor husband, this year was one of those years.  Our son had surgery last week.  Our daughter turns three this coming weekend.  And right there smack in the middle is my husband's birthday.

Given the craziness, we went low key.  No party.  No guests.  Just a family dinner (which is crazy enough with a toddler and baby).  We embraced my husband's love of lime with grilled chipotle lime shrimp and chicken, a black bean and corn salad in lime vinaigrette, and homemade limeades.  And of course, what birthday would be complete without cake... or in this case, margarita cupcakes.

I used the cake batter from Annie's Eats recipe.  However, I improvised on the icing and just made a basic buttercream with the addition of lime juice, lime zest, and salt.  (No tequila since these are toddler-friendly.)  I highly recommend either sprinkling the cupcake with coarser salt or rimming the cupcake... your preference.  The salt really makes a difference and adds a sweet/salty contrast.

Thankfully I won a giveaway from Not Just a Mommy a month or so ago for the Meri Meri cupcake set Eat More Cake.  These are adorable and I have been saving them for a special occasion.  What could be more special than this?

Aren't they adorable.  I particularly love the wrappers.  And my daughter had so much fun putting the toppers on all the cupcakes.  She kept asking what was in the presents.  Oh, I love toddler conversations.

With two more birthdays, Father's Day, and a wedding anniversary all in less than a month long period, I have a feeling that I will be saying this a lot.  However, let me leave you with this sentiment anyways... Eat More Cake.

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Sunday, June 13

Inspiration from South Africa

I love how the blogosphere brings people together from all over the world.  It creates this amazing sense of community for sharing ideas.  There are so many crafts that other bloggers have inspired me to delve into... felt food, freezer paper stenciling, ribbon barrettes, etc.  I'm indebted to so many.

I was honored this past week when Joyful Mama (from South Africa, host of the World Cup, which I hope everyone is watching) wrote that she was linking to my felt sugar cookie post.  Even more exciting was when I looked at her creations.  I have to make that cupcake.  Isn't it too yummy!

SOURCE:  Joyful Mama

You can check out more at Joyful Mama's Place.

Who has inspired you today?

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Friday, June 11

The Countdown is On...

The countdown is on for my daughter's birthday.  Since she is beginning to grasp the concept of time (though everything in the past was yesterday and everything in the future is tomorrow), we created a little countdown chain for her to enjoy.  The first orange ring is for Daddy's Birthday.  The second orange ring at the top is for her Birthday Party.  For her, it is a reminder of how soon her party is.  For Mommy, it's a reminder of how little time she has left for preparations.  Obviously, I'll have a busy weekend.

Happy Friday to you.  May your weekend be a delightful one.

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Wednesday, June 9

Joy in little things...

You may have noticed in some of my other photos that there is this bowl of lettuce that keeps showing up in the background.  Well, I thought I'd share today a little story of why I find this bowl so fun and why I keep it prominently on my outdoor dining table.  It's partially because I love the visual texture and freshness.  It's partially because I love that feeling of growing a tiny bit of my own food (most of my garden is herbs).  It's partially because I enjoy teaching my children where food comes from. 

However, I must admit that the primary reason I love this is because of the sly look my almost-three-year-old gives me when she swipes a leaf and thinks she's getting away with something.  I never knew that the secret to getting a toddler to eat her greens is to make it seem like an adventure.  It makes me laugh every time.

What made you laugh today?

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Tuesday, June 8

Please wash your hands...

My friend recently had a beautiful baby girl, born at 34 weeks after a long period of bed rest for Mommy.  She is absolutely precious.  With such a tiny three week old baby, it was completely understandable that my friend was nervous about an upcoming family reunion.  She mentioned having seen a mother at a store with a sign that essentially said to please not touch the baby.  However, she was too shy to ask her where she got it.  It turns out that there are several etsy shops that sell these style of signs.  However, there wasn't time to order one... thus this one was born.

The tag is pink and brown to replicate much of her nursery decor.  I designed this one using MS Word (because I still need to buy better design software).  One side asks that people wash their hands.  On the other side, her name.  (Isabel... isn't that a beautiful name.)  It was printed double-sided on cardstock and then laminated.  All that was left was to punch a ribbon hole in top, thread the ribbon through, and attach to the car seat.

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